Series: Graceling Realm #2
Published by Dial Books on 2009 October 5
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It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.
This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.
Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.
If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.
The last weekend was quite a busy day for me though that didn’t stop me from taking a good rest. When not resting, I busied myself reading the piles of e-books in one of my desktop folders following my pledge that I would at least read 1 book every week. I’m not sure though if I’d be able to keep that up once school has fully started. But I don’t wanna think about that now.
Last weekend, there are still 12 e-books sitting in one of my folders and I’m quite happy that it started to dwindle down now that I’m driven to read. I would have finished more if my pesky Harry Potter addiction didn’t make a relapse. So anyway, with lots of e-books to choose from, I decided to pick a new book, a book which I am not familiar with because I wanted to be surprised. With this, I ended up reading Fire, a Graceling novel prequel by Kristin Cashore.
Fire follows the story of Fire (ironically), a female monster who aside from possessing telepathy powers, is also gifted with a jaw dropping beauty that would literally mesmerize everyone who is not on guard. Fire’s world is called the Kingdom of Dells with normal humans and animals live together with human monsters and animals.
Being a monster in the Kingdom of Dells is not easy as they’re not really popular with the normalcy of the majority of the population. And people were always suspicious or loathed them because of their powers and beauty. It was even worse for Fire because her father—a very handsome monster—was the bestfriend of the late King Nax and it was him who had influenced the latter to wreak havoc in the Kingdom.
But Fire who grew up in the outskirts of the City had a different upbringing for she was exposed to the goodness of the humans especially that of Archer and his father, Lord Brocker. Even as a child, Fire struggled to suppress her natural powers and strived to blend in with the regularity of the people around her. Meanwhile, her father whose nature is really evil tried to be a parent to the growing Fire even teaching her how to control her powers. However, even if Fire saw that there’s still kindness in her father’s heart, it didn’t stop her from eventually killing him through mind control. She did it for the greater good.
Fire grew up to be a fine woman of humility and goodness (even if she just murdered her father). And Archer, who had been her bestfriend ever since fell in love with her. Apparently, due to her fear of producing monster children to the world, she refused him. And instead, she contented herself with being his lover and friend.
To avoid trouble and to keep a low profile, Fire lived a simple life away from the prying eyes of so many people. However, her world was turned upside down when incumbent King Nash—son of Nax—summoned her to his palace. She was advised that the King is seeking her help to scour the minds of the palace’s prisoner to find clues about the moves of the King’s enemies.
At the palace, Fire proved to be very important in the tactical planning for the ensuing war. She did not only read the minds of her enemies but influenced their decisions as well. But behind all of these important happenings, Fire found herself falling inlove with the King’s Commander-in-Chief, Prince Brigan. Eventually, the two of them started a relationship despite the uncertainty ahead.
Despite the planning and Fire’s mind control prowess, the anticipated war between the Kingdom and its enemies ensued. Brigandelle was summoned anywhere whenever his armies needed him. While Fire was left at the palace providing comfort to soldiers who were dying and lifting their spirits to continue fighting. On the other hand, Archer who had been heartbroken with Fire’s rejection and subsequent relationship with Brigan, left to confront another mysterious enemy of the kingdom.
As the battle progressed, Fire who had been left at the palace to attend to the dying was abducted. It was then revealed that Fire had been kidnapped by the mysterious enemy of the kingdom, Leck, a young boy who had the power to control people with his words. At Leck’s hideout, Fire further discovered that Archer was dead upon Leck’s instructions. Archer’s death meant that a part of Fire has been lost for he had always been her bestfriend since time immemorial.
During Fire’s captivity, Leck tried to negotiate with her, to join him in his plans for greatness. But Fire, who had long been solved to do goodness overpowered Leck and his minions and escaped. She went back to the arms of Brigan and to his siblings who in a way made her part of the family.
Due to their preparedness in the war and most importantly, with Fire’s help, the Kindgom emerged as victors in the battle. But their happiness did not last long for Lord Brocker announced that Brigandelle had never been the King’s son but his. Without too much drama and a lot of in-depth thinking, Brigandelle seem to accept this fact. And together, they lived happily ever after.
And now for my review…
I want to be blunt about this one but I’ve sighed a lot while reading this book. And to think that I really have high hopes for it. But the story was too predictable like looking from a horse’s linear point of view. To put it more simply, reading Fire was like riding a limousine and travelling on a lonely, straight and cemented road. I hope you understand what I’m trying to say. It lacked the thrill, the nail biting experience, the adrenaline rush, the stress, the pressure, the sweating and all those nasty stuff that should accompany a good read. But no, with Fire, I’ve been treated to a luxurious 10-star (if there’s ever one out there) hotel where everything was so comfortable and spoon-fed to you that you’d sleep or die of boredom. This is what happened to me and guess what; I did gain a significant amount of weight (not that I need more) while reading the book for the lack of exercise and sweating.
This too. There was something lacking about the characters that I find it hard to relate or empathize with them. The chemistry or the spark between me and them that I was expecting did not happen unfortunately. And what’s with Fire being a monster? Do you know what kind of creature does she remind me of? A veela (if you don’t know what I mean, go and read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) for geez sake… only reinforced but nevertheless, a veela.
The characters of Fire were hero and heroine material but they don’t have that X-factor to be remembered by. Even Brigandelle whom I liked at first but he was like a substandard product that as time passes by, suffered deterioration in quality.
Interactions and Dialogues
If you are looking for humorous conversations or heartfelt banter or quote worthy lines then this book is not for you. The conversations were shallows, the interactions were inauthentic and things just didn’t fit. I hardly felt that Archer and Fire were long time friends with the way they interact. I hardly felt the intensity of Fire and Brigan’s love for each other and no, I did not feel butterflies in my stomach whenever they have lone moments together.
Everything that I’ve read left a hollow feeling in me, leaving me searching for something that I subconsciously know that would never happen. And that frustrated me because I’ve been looking at all the aspects of the book and did not find one single thing that has been worthwhile to my reading endeavors.
Too much expectation will lead you to disappointment- As what happened to me while reading this book.
Your choices define who you are- As been displayed by Fire who instead of utilizing her monster powers to do evil things, she used it to restore peace in the Kingdom of Dells.
That sometimes you have to hurt the one you love for the greater good- This was demonstrated to how Fire chose to kill her own father to stop him from creating more deadly chaos.
So that’s not really a happy ending for a prized weekend huh? Having to spend a day and a half pouring over a book that didn’t get my fancy. What about you? Have you also read a book that ended up in the void? What were the things that you did and didn’t love about it?